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My wife of 1+ year has wanted to be a musician since she was a little girl. But because of her parents she could not pursue it after high school and she ended up doing a 4 year degree in something else, and then 1.5 years working at a job she hated. She left that job and is now focusing on her course in music. She has recorded several awesome pieces at home, and participated won awards in several singing competitions.


I am 100% supportive of her, and everyone who hears her music thinks it's awesome. I have a well-paid job, so we are doing alright money-wise. But... she is not confident enough in herself and is often depressed about the future.


To such a point, that hearing a beautiful song on TV can set her off and ruin her entire day. Because she wants to be there, but believes she can never make it. She says she is too old (she is currently 24), not beautiful enough, not from the right demographic, etc. What's worse, one of her old friends from school who is in the US has just signed onto a label and recorded an album. She spends many evenings on facebook going through all her photos, re-listening to all her songs and gets herself more and more depressed.


I try to be supportive, but when she gets into such a state she doesn't take on board anything I say. When she gets like that, nothing I say can make any difference what so ever... In fact she prefers to be alone when she gets upset and sometimes very forcefully tells me to go away, even if she admits that it's not me she's angry with. She says: "I just need to be alone when I'm upset" If I try to hug her, she gets furious at me.


While I try not to take it personally it does really really hurt me to have my wife tell me to leave her alone...


I'm afraid for her future, I want her to go for it but, even though I avoid saying it, I realistically know that it is not an easy career to make. She has a backup plan to do a PhD in Music and be a music academic, but I know that her heart is in anything else apart from performance. At once point she has threatened that she will kill herself if she can't be a singer... to have her say something like that is just a knife through my heart... Even though a few minutes later she apologized for being dramatic.


One more factor is that we live in New Zealand, which is a country I love. In a perfect world I would spend my whole life here. However, the opportunities here are not as great as in our neighbouring Australia, or UK or the US. For musicians it can be hard to make a sustainable career with only 4 mil people in the whole country. She wants to leave, I would love to stay, but I tell her that I can make a move for her, and truthfully I know we could live anywhere with her and I would be happy. But I can't deny that I like it here, and I think she feels like that is anchoring her down... She says she wants me to want to move on my own for my own reasons... unfortunately I can't lie to her, I don't think I will ever want to move for any other reason than her career. My career is going well here.


I feel lost, useless and helpless. I'm scared for her future, I'm beginning to be scared for our future together. I find myself becoming resentful of her when she tells me to leave her alone when she's upset - I'm trying to comfort her, but she locks me out and pushes me away.

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I would suggest two things:


1.) Sit down with her, or maybe even a few friends, and devise a kind of marketing/business plan on avenues she can take to be more successful (e.g. Youtube videos of her work and a way to garner attention, a facebook fan page, a way to get on itunes? or link removed or link removed, etc.)

2.) Also, you need to seek couples counseling. To have a good and happy life there needs to be balance. Your marriage should be as important as her musical career.

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Yes - as you recognise, personality is an important part of the music business. I was (allegedly) a promising actress but I knew in my heart that I wasn't thick-skinned enough to cope with all the knocks. Further on in my life I still have moments when I wish I'd gone for it - but the realist in me knows that my attitudes back then made it extremely unlikely that I would have survived unscathed.


Counselling is a really good idea. As well as for you as a couple, your wife needs to sort out where her sense of identiy and self-esteem lies.


Apart frm anything else, NZ (though I'm sure it's wonderful and I've wanted to visit since I was a little girl) is a 'small pond' in terms of competition. Your wife might think the opportunities would be better elsewhere but tbh she might even sink without trace.


There's a Somerset Maugham story about a young man who puts everything into his musical career, only to find he is NOT the talent he thought he was, and it ends badly. I think someone (NOT you!) needs to prepare her for the thought that she may be a really good singer but not world class. If she IS world class, her current nurturing of her own jealousy and self-hate demonstrates that she doesn't have what it takes psychologically.


Let someone else help her see this, don't go there!


And don't forget you are in a partnership - YOU deserve as much support as she does in whatever you do in life. Are you getting it?


ETA - she CAN be a singer. Lots of people are. She could sing at private functions, charity events, whatever. IS her real issue that she wants to be a FAMOUS singer? There is no need to kill herself if all she wants to do is sing. If she wants in fact to be famous and get the acknowledgement that her parents wouldn't allow her after high school then - that's an issue for a good counsellor.

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My first thought is: you are both so YOUNG!


Being able to sing, and becoming "famous" are to very different things. You say she has won in competitions. Has her voice been trained? I think a first step is to find a singing teacher, the best you can afford. If she is good enough maybe she could present herself in neighbouring Australia, (for example) at a prestigious singing competition. You don't say what genre she sings.


If she really has talent, that talent will be discovered. A case in point is someone like Susan Boyle.

Many world class singers had to struggle.

What has beauty got to do with it+ I am sure she is very presentable, and believe me before going on stage anyone can be made "beautiful" by the backstage experts.


It would be pointless moving away from your country until she first finds out if she has what it takes.


Also, and don-t take this wrongly. She sounds a little immature. I agree with the other poster here that you might both benefit from visits to a counsellor. Not sure how that works in New Zealand.


All the best


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Also she is saying you are holding her back - surely she knew the deal when you married. It is often a lot easier to blame other people (first her parents, now you) than to take responsibilty... I had a friend who was in his fifties and STILL blaming his parents for 'not having let him study singing' when, just before he went to University, he 'realised it was what I'd always really wanted'. I'm afraid he went on about it so much that in the end I said, "Well you can't have wanted it badly enough to succeed, because people have overcome bigger hurdles than their parents stopping them.' He never went to music college in all the following years, he just grumbled about 'them ruining my life'.


I suspect the truth was that deep down he knew he wouldn't have made it, but this way he got to hug a lovely, cuddly resentment teddy bear all his adult life.




Without being disrespectful, in fact feeling admiring of your maturity, you ARE young, and in particular YOU are too young to have this burden. It would be helpful for you to talk to someone who can support you in drawing a boundary between your wife's responsibilty and YOUR responsibility here.


What has your wife done for YOU in terms of offering support etc?

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I REALLY think she should see a psychiatrist. I often suggest this to people who post here, but this is one case where I feel most strongly. I think she is suffering from depression & it is manifesting in her career anxieties. I think she could really benefit from speaking with someone & going on antidepressants, but I'm not a psychiatrist so I'm really not one to judge. I really think that this could help her quite a bit. You need to push her to do this. Threatening suicide is a clear sign that she needs help.


She's putting waaay too much pressure on herself. She just started & already she feels like a failure because she hasn't succeeded yet? Not to mention, this seems like somthing nearly IMPOSSIBLE to succeed in. Think of all the actors who dream of being A-list, or basketball players who want to be on the NBA. Many attempt; few succeed. It's unrealistic to expect to make it to the top when it is soooo competitive.


I think getting a PhD in Music & doing this composing in addition seems like a good plan. But she needs to do it because she loves doing it, and not have this nearly impossible goal in mind & consider her life a failure for not making herself numero umo.

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